He started off his career with a gritty portrayal of Chandu Nagre — supposedly based on don Chhota Rajan — in Ram Gopal Varma’s Company (2002).
And now, actor Vivek Oberoi is set to enter the underworld again — albeit strictly on screen. The actor will play a character supposedly based on feared gangster Dawood Ibrahim in filmmaker Sanjay Gupta’s Shootout At Wadala.
The film is being touted as a prequel to the director’s Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007), in which Vivek enacted the menacing Maya Dolas.
Interestingly, his on-screen avatar will be called Dawood. This is probably the first time this name has been assigned to a character, despite many reel-life versions in the past being ‘inspired’ by India’s most wanted don.
Gupta confirms, saying, “We have signed Vivek on to play a budding don called Dawood. He has a strong role in the film.” Apparently, Sanjay has already gone through the legal red tape required to use Dawood’s name in the film, and is determined to go ahead with it.
Shootout At Wadala will supposedly dramatise the first-ever registered encounter by Mumbai police, where gangster Manya Surve was shot dead.
While John Abraham will play Surve, Anil Kapoor is set to portray encounter specialist Issaque Bhagwan. Gupta plans to cast at least 11 big names from Bollywood, making it one of the biggest films next year. It’s likely to go on the floors by February.
The script remains a secret, but unit members insist the highlights will be several intense sequences between Surve (John) and Dawood (Vivek).
Gupta is also close to roping in another big name to play Sabir Ibrahim, Dawood’s brother who was gunned down in 1983 by the Pathan brothers.
A ‘romantic Dawood’!
Besides Vivek, Akshay Kumar’s character in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2 is also supposedly inspired by Dawood. But instead of a brooding, intense avatar, Akshay is supposed to reveal the romantic side of the underworld. “We showed the ‘real’ human side in the first part. But this time, it’s going to be a happy and entertaining place, instead of guns and blood. Akshay hasn’t done a film like this in a long time,” says director Milan Luthria. Akshay will have three key looks since he’s shown to age through the story.